No matter how attractive the patio furniture was when it was new, it is uncomfortable when the cushions become stained or mildewed. As a result, understanding how to keep outdoor cushions free of mildew is critical.
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What is Mold
Mold might be green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white, with a fuzzy appearance. Patio cushions and umbrella undersides are common places for mold to grow. Mold can cause a variety of health issues, including allergic responses, asthma attacks, headaches, and joint pain. In contrast to mildew, which thrives in wet environments like the bathroom or on damp patio cushions, bacteria commonly develop on food.
What is Mildew
In a powdery or downy substance, mildew has a flat feel. Rather than cushions, patio furniture is more likely to be infested with mildew than other types of mold. Initially white, it turns yellow, brown, or black in the powdered form. It’s yellow when it’s downy, but it eventually turns brown. Mildew can also cause respiratory problems and headaches, and it can even begin to grow in the lungs in extreme circumstances.
Mold VS Mildew | Are they Different?
Technically speaking, mold and mildew differ from one another, much like a cherry tomato differs from a nightshade plant.
Microfungi that grow via hyphae, or slender thread-like fibers, are all included in the mold family. Any organic material, including clothing, paper, and even ceilings, can support the growth of molds if sufficiently damp. Although numerous species of fungi are helpful to the soil, black mold is the most well-known.
It’s not uncommon to use mildew to describe mold that spreads outward from the surface rather than growing upward. The powdery dots are white at first, then turn a darker brown. Shower walls, windows, and other places with a lot of moisture are common places for these critters to breed and dwell out there.
As well as creating ugly blemishes in textiles, mold and mildew can also trigger allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, asthma, and chronic fatigue syndrome in humans.
Why Did My Patio Cushions Form Mildew?
Three conditions are needed for mildew to thrive: food, water, and oxygen. Mildew will grow on your pillows if you live in a humid region, keep them out in the rain all the time, or use gorgeous natural materials like cotton.
Because of the higher humidity and the fact that wet people and towels will be laying on top of them, poolside cushions are particularly vulnerable.
How to Remove Mildew from Patio Cushions
The degree of mildew growth and the depth to which it has permeated the cushion determine the most effective method of mildew removal.
Mild-to-moderate mildew or provide preventative care: Use White Vinegar
Don’t use bleach just yet. Using white vinegar on porous and non-porous surfaces kills up to 82 percent of the mold species and prevents future mold outbreaks. It also aids in eliminating the musty odor caused by mildew.
How to use white vinegar to remove mold step-by-step:
- Remove the cushions’ coverings and wash them in the washer with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar in the softener dispenser.
- Spritz a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar.
- The vinegar should be sprayed on the cushion from every angle.
- Allow at least 60 minutes for the vinegar to rest.
- Wipe down the cushions with warm water.
- Clean the cushions with a moist cloth and dry them well.
- Until the cushions are entirely dry, let them air out.
- To keep mold and mildew from returning to your cushions, sprinkle them with vinegar on a regular basis.
Heavy amounts or deeply penetrated mildew: Use Pressure Washer
Using a pressure washer to remove mildew that has infiltrated the foam cushion or the pillow’s fabric will require a more robust solution. While pressure washers can get the job done faster and more thoroughly than a spritzer and vinegar, using too much pressure might harm the cushion, so be careful to observe the safety measures outlined in the following section.
How to use a pressure washer to remove mold step-by-step:
- Set the PSI on the pressure washer to the lowest available setting to avoid damaging the cushions after connecting it to an external water supply.
- Attach the soap tip after adding the cleaner to the soap reservoir. (If pressure is adjustable, use the lowest setting.)
- Using a dry place like a deck or driveway, lay the cushions out on the ground.
- Protect the cushions by standing 2 feet away and saturating them with water.
- In order to produce suds, apply the cleaner with the cleaning wand in sweeping horizontal motions.
- Allow the soap to soak into the cushion for three minutes, but don’t allow it to dry out.
- Mold and mildew can be removed using a brush.
- Remove any soap residue from the cushions by thoroughly rinsing them under running water.
- To eliminate any remaining water, gently wring out the cushions and place them in a bright, dry location to dry entirely.
Should I Use Bleach To Clean Up Mold?
When it comes to cleaning up mold, the EPA generally advises against the use of bleach, although it does say that expert mold remediation companies can use their own discretion in some situations. When mold spores are in the air, sanitizing the afflicted area with bleach is ineffective. The spores will begin to land and proliferate anew if only that is completed. In order to avoid mold growth in the first place, it is necessary to address the underlying cause (excessive humidity).
The fading of colors and the decomposition of foam are both problems that bleach may wreak on outdoor furniture.
Before using bleach, give vinegar a try. Ensure that the product is bleach safe by checking the label! 1 gallon of water and 12 cup of bleach are all you need.
For those who have a serious mold problem, it may be necessary to replace the cushions if they cannot be cleaned effectively.
How to Prevent Mildew on Outdoor Cushions?
Bringing your outdoor cushions within when they’re not in use is the greatest approach to prevent mildew.
If you don’t remember and it rains, put the cushions somewhere dry with plenty of airflow so they can dry fast. Laundry racks are ideal for this purpose.” Dry the entire cushion by turning it over every half hour.
Quality acrylic or olefin cushions should be purchased if you live in a humid area or forget to bring them indoors. They may not be natural, but since you won’t have to replace your cushions as frequently, they’re more environmentally friendly in the long run.
Store outdoor cushions in a well-ventilated, low-humidity area during the off-season.
Also, make a habit of cleaning the cushions. Regular cleaning prevents mildew from permeating the cushion and allows you to utilize more natural, environmentally friendly cleaning methods. Spray your cushions with vinegar and lightly scrub them on a regular basis.
How to Prevent & Remove Mildew on Outdoor Cushions?
Polypropylene is used to make the outer fabric of Lagoon’s outdoor cushions and pillows. Because this all-weather material repels and does not absorb water, dries rapidly, does not retain odors, has good colorfastness, is abrasion-resistant and environmentally friendly, it helps protect outdoor cushions against mold and mildew caused by damp circumstances. However, mildew can develop if moisture, rainfall, or dust persist on a cushion’s surface or penetrate the inside filling.
5 ways to Remove Mold & Mildew from Patio Cushions & Umbrellas
1. Homemade solution
Mold and mildew can be removed with this DIY mold treatment. This cleanser has a milder formula than others, including bleach. You’ll need water, dish soap, borax, and baking soda for this project. Pour hot water over the ingredients and mix them until they’re completely dissolved. Once the mold has been removed, use a soft scrub brush to gently scrub in a circular motion.
Ammonia is a useful cleaning agent that can be used in a variety of ways. An effective mold-killing solution is created when baking soda and vinegar are mixed together.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Remove the smell of mold and mildew with hydrogen peroxide. You don’t want to get your nose in the mold! It’s possible to breathe in the spores that make up mold. During cleaning, wear a mask!
4. Lemon Salt
If you’d rather not use chemicals to treat mold and mildew, you can try lemon salt as an organic alternative. Scrub away with a mixture of lemon juice and salt.
5. Scrub with Mild Bleach
Bleach is always the answer. To avoid discoloration on your cushions, dilute the solution carefully before using. Bleach can be added to a gallon of water in a half-teaspoon measure. Bleach cleaning products should never be used while pregnant.
Bleach and ammonia should never be used together. This is extremely hazardous and can result in the production of poisonous substances. In this article, Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. explains why this is so.
Removing Mildew from Patio Furniture
The furniture itself is significantly more prone to mildew. Using a brush (not your hairbrush) and a vacuum, begin by cleaning the furniture in the area. After that, you can clean it with a Lysol and hot water solution. Apply the Lysol first, then rinse with water if you like, or combine the two.
Synthetic Wicker Furniture
Getting in between the wicker strands is a bit more difficult with wicker. You can use a hose to clean up the mess. Even better would be to use a power washer for this. First, I’d soak the wicker in soapy water to remove the mold. The pressure washer can then be used to clean it.
So, spray from a variety of directions to ensure that you get into every nook and cranny. This is critical if you want to ensure that your wicker furniture is free of mold. Other stands can be used to conceal it. Don’t forget to spray the bottoms of your chairs after flipping your wicker set upside down. When doing this, use a tarp to protect the wicker from being scratched.
1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon of hot water can be used to clean wood. Take cautious not to let the water sit for an extended period of time. The last thing you want is for the wood to start rotting.
What to Do When It Becomes a Lost Cause
A patio furniture that has been heavily infected by mold and mildew may be beyond repair. To get rid of them, I’d use the methods described above. Replacement cushions can be purchased, but only if they’re made of mold and mildew-resistant textiles like these.
It’s hardly a secret that Sunbrella is famed for its outdoor couches. I’ve recommended it in the past, and I’ll do so again. Because the thread is dyed, the color of these cushions won’t fade over time. They’re made of marine-grade fabric, which means they’ll be less susceptible to mold and mildew. If you’d want to learn more about them, the following resources can help.
- An in-depth review of Sunbrella Fabric.
- One Hundred Years of Excellence in Sunbrella Fabrics
- Outdoor Cushions: Materials, Foam, and Padding Buying Guide
Tips to Prevent Mold and Mildew on Patio Furniture
- Make sure that there is a steady flow of air in the room. If you’re storing your patio furniture in a sunroom or other enclosed space, a dehumidifier or a fan to remove the moisture from the air might be a good idea.
- Mold and mildew thrive in dark, moist, and humid circumstances, so make sure your home is well-lit. Your cushions will get more sunlight if you move your chairs outside or lower your patio canopy. You’ve been putting it off, but now is the time to get it done!
- Vents and breathable fabrics like these should be included in the patio covers if you want to keep your furniture out of harm’s way from the elements.
- A guide to teak furniture can be found here. To discover more about how mold and mildew affect outdoor teak furniture, check out this article.
Can I Wash Patio Furniture Cushions in the Washing Machine?
It’s a good idea to read the care labels on your pillows before washing them in the dishwasher. However, washing something in a washing machine will ruin the fabric or filling, even if it says it’s safe to use in a washing machine. If it’s machine washable, make sure there’s enough room to agitate in the machine.
You may wash the cushion’s cover in the washing machine without harming the foam core if it has a removable cover.
Can I Wash Patio Furniture Cushions with a Pressure Washer?
If you’re careful, you can pressure wash patio furniture cushions. Reduce the pressure as much as possible, and if your soap tip can be adjusted, do so as well. Place the pillows on a level, dry surface 2 feet away from you.
There is, however, no need to use a pressure washer for anything other than mold and mildew removal.
How Do I Know When My Outdoor Cushions are Beyond Repair?
When you can no longer fix your outdoor cushions, you know:
- Mold or mildew has gotten into the foam quite thoroughly, or
- However thoroughly you cleaned the cushions, there is still mold on them.
Do I have to scrub off mold or is killing the mildew enough?
Mildew removal alone will not suffice if you are allergic to mold. Some people may be allergic to dead mold, which might trigger their symptoms. Even if the discoloration isn’t visible, you should still scrub the mildew off.
When it comes to preventing mildew from forming on outdoor cushions, it’s crucial to keep the cushions clean. To keep them clean, make sure they’re free of dust and moisture.